Scammers can target us with phone scams at any time. But, when the weather gets cold, they tend ramp up their efforts, knowing that many of us will be huddled indoors with our phones close by. To avoid getting taken, be on the lookout for these top five phone scams:
- Scammers posing as the IRS demanding payment for back taxes.
- Legitimate sounding calls about your Social Security number being suspended.
- Con artists posing as Microsoft or a well-known computer manufacturer stating that there is problem with your computer.
- Someone posing as your utility company, telling you that you missed a payment and your heat or electric will be disconnected.
- Bogus charities that want a donation paid by phone and are reluctant to send information in the email.
One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to these scams is to screen all calls and check things out before calling numbers provided in a message. Stick with a phone number that is listed on your bill, a statement or that you can obtain from a legitimate source. If you pick up the phone and suspect a scam, hang up without providing any information. Never provide payment by phone until you thoroughly check things out. Keep in mind legitimate businesses, agencies and charities will not ask for personal information nor payment with an I-tunes, e-Bay or other gift cards.
If you need help getting the calls to stop, contact your phone provider for information about call blocking services.